False alarm: Sriracha lives

UB students react to hot sauce company shutdown scare

The Spectrum

Lily Tang, a UB alumna and EPIC Movement intern, was prepared to buy all the Sriracha sauce she could find and learn how to make the sauce herself. She even debated investing in a Sriracha factory.

When Sriracha CEO and founder David Tran announced that the factory based in Irwindale, Calif., may close down on Tuesday, hot sauce enthusiasts everywhere were enraged.

Two days later, The Los Angeles Times reported that a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the factory would continue to run - for now.

According to The Times, the California-based factory was in jeopardy of closure because of the strong odor emitted from the production of the condiment. The hot sauce produces a concentrated scent of chili peppers, vinegar and garlic - its main ingredient - and residents in the area filed complaints of burning eyes and throats and, in more serious cases, headaches.

Sriracha is one of the fastest-growing companies in America and sold 20 million bottles last year, according to The Huffington Post. The condiment is becoming a bigger part of American culture and is likely to become another standard hot sauce like Tabasco and Frank's Red Hot.

The false alarm left many UB students relieved but some are unsettled thinking doomsday may soon arrive. If that day comes, they may need to pay for the jump in prices or turn toward an alternative to the signature bright red hotness.

Tran said a jump in prices would be likely if the factory shut down. This was junior linguistics major Ivy Chang's main concern when she heard the news. Chang worried that her beloved sauce would need to be imported from elsewhere and prices would double.

"I use it to flavor everything in college," she said.

In order to recreate her mom's cooking and the taste of home, she adds the hot sauce to the majority of her foods, like instant noodles and other soup-based dishes.

Chang says she enjoys the burn that the Sriracha sauce gives. Though some may find it too spicy and the mild sourness from the vinegar unpleasant, she has built a tolerance for it.

Although Chang was prepared to pay the extra cost for the signature clear bottles with the green squirt cap, others had bigger plans for the discontinuation.

Tang could not believe the news and said that all she could think was that there were so many supporters that the shutdown could not go through.

She relates her love for Sriracha to a food pyramid she had come upon, which was decorated with splatters of the hot sauce; essentially, the condiment is a staple to almost everything she eats.

"I'd rather them shut the ketchup factory if I could choose," she said.

Now that it has been reported that the factory will not be shutting done, Tang is relieved and said all is well again.

Other students, like Kristina Lochan, a junior civil engineering student, shared this initial shock to the Sriracha scare. Lochan said she wouldn't be suffering a dietary loss, but rather miss being able to turn toward the hot sauce when she wanted something milder in comparison to other spicy sauces.

She pairs the condiment with Ramen noodles and Greek or Mediterranean food.

Earlier this year, Lay's introduced Sriracha-flavored potato chips as part of a contest for a spot in the permanent line of Lay's flavors. Subway is also joining the Sriracha trend by introducing a "Fiery Footlong Collection" to promote the movie release for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The sandwich shop is featuring the Sriracha Chicken Melt and Sriracha Steak Melt.

Cookbooks including the hot sauce and Halloween costumes of the bottle have also appeared in the recent years.

For UB students, the hot sauce can be found in a few select restaurants in the Commons. The standard-sized bottles can also be purchased from Walmart for around $3.

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